Joint team attempts to capture monkeys harassing residents at Segar Road

The authorities were trying to search out and capture a troop of long-tailed macaques at Segar Road in Bukit Panjang on April 20, 2017, following a spate of incidents in which monkeys harassed HDB residents.
The authorities were trying to search out and capture a troop of long-tailed macaques at Segar Road in Bukit Panjang on April 20, 2017, following a spate of incidents in which monkeys harassed HDB residents.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
The authorities were trying to search out and capture a troop of long-tailed macaques at  a HDB estate in Bukit Panjang on April 20, 2017, following a spate of incidents in which monkeys harassed HDB residents.
The authorities were trying to search out and capture a troop of long-tailed macaques at a HDB estate in Bukit Panjang on April 20, 2017, following a spate of incidents in which monkeys harassed HDB residents.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Residents watch as the authorities try to search out and capture a troop of long-tailed macaques at Segar Road in Bukit Panjang on April 20, 2017. There has been a spate of incidents in which monkeys harassed HDB residents.
Residents watch as the authorities try to search out and capture a troop of long-tailed macaques at Segar Road in Bukit Panjang on April 20, 2017. There has been a spate of incidents in which monkeys harassed HDB residents.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
Mr Joe Kam from Acres advising people not to crowd around as it will frighten the monkeys and make it hard for the authorities to catch them. The authorities launched an operation to search out and capture monkeys at Segar Road on April 20, 2017.
Mr Joe Kam from Acres advising people not to crowd around as it will frighten the monkeys and make it hard for the authorities to catch them. The authorities launched an operation to search out and capture monkeys at Segar Road on April 20, 2017.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

SINGAPORE - Following a spate of incidents in which monkeys harassed Housing Board flat residents in Bukit Panjang, several organisations were spotted on Thursday morning (April 20) trying to search out and capture a troop of long-tailed macaques.

The operation was in its fourth day running.

Five to six personnel from animal welfare group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), Wildlife Reserves Singapore, and the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) were deployed as early as about 6am to patrol the grounds and find the primates at Segar Road. A tranquilliser dart gun would have been used to capture the monkeys.

Acres deputy chief executive Anbarasi Boopal, who was on site, said that to get the monkeys into a suitable position for firing the tranquilliser dart, the officers tried to bait them with bananas and other fruit, sometimes placed on the ledges outside the high-rise units where the monkeys climb in through the windows.

The operation was put on hold at about 11.20am with no monkeys captured.

The macaques had been harassing residents for months, stealing their food and even biting them. It is only in recent weeks that some monkeys have become more aggressive.

Since last October, AVA has received about 160 pieces of feedback on monkey attacks and nuisance in the estate.

The agency has deemed the monkey situation a public safety risk, adding that it has been conducting monkey control operations there. It is aware of five reported monkey attacks in the Segar area this week.

Acres said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that the behaviour of at least one monkey has been altered due to public feeding and harassment.

The Straits Times understands that the public has been feeding and provoking the monkey, such as throwing stuff at it. AVA said it is working with Acres to safely remove the monkey.

So far, traps have been set up and, more recently, authorities have taken to darting the monkeys.